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Race Corks in the Rain

Use stones to direct the rain into rivers, and stage a cork race.

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Participant Age: 7 to 12, 12 and up
Approximate Cost: $0
Duration: 1 to 60 minutes
Difficulty:
Physical Challenge:
  • Bucket or pot
  • Heavy rain
  • Raincoat and boots
  • Sidewalk
  • Stones, about 3-4 inches minimum
  • Waterproof toys, such as plastic animals (optional)
  • Wine-cork
On a day where there is a forecast of heavy rain, walk around your neighborhood.

Look for spots where the rain runs down a slight slope. The water should be less than an inch deep.

In the rain, or when the rain pauses, take your stones and lay out a course in that spot. Use the stones to make a curving path. Often this will be along the place where the grass or concrete meets the sidewalk, because that is where the water will run deeper and faster.

At the end of your waterway, put some stones to act as a landing place for your corks, so they don't float away.

Set out your bucket or pot to catch the rain.

If you'd like, decorate your water path with waterproof toys, as spectators for your race.


Cut the wine cork in half.
At one end of the waterway, line up the corks. When it's raining nice and hard, let the corks go and watch them race.
Cheer for your favorite cork!

Sometimes one will get stuck. That's when you can take your bucket of water and pour it in at the beginning of your race course. This will provide a small wave of water that will unstick the cork and send it along its way.

Here's a video of our cork race!


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  • Celebrate the rain by taking your metal pots and pans outside and making rain music.
  • Draw with washable markers and watch as the rain spreads the ink across your paper.
  • Decorate some "racing sticks" and follow them down a stream.
  • Here is a simple way to measure how much rain falls in your own backyard.
  • Before you jump in, make a snow gauge to measure how deep the snow is!

 

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